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Crosby-less Pens set to host Bruins

by Eric Goodman /
BRUINS (21-12-7) at PENGUINS (26-13-4)


Last 10 -- Boston 5-2-3; Pittsburgh 5-3-2

Season series --  This is the second of four games between Boston and Pittsburgh this season. The B's received goals from seven different players and won 7-4 in the clubs' first meeting at Pittsburgh on Nov. 10, 2010.

Big Story -- Both the Bruins and Penguins have lost four of their last five games overall. However, the Pens have been outscored 6-1 over their last two games in which team captain and the NHL's scoring leader Sidney Crosby has missed due to what has been diagnosed as a mild concussion. Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma spoke to the club's reporters on Saturday and made the following statement about Crosby's status: "Until he's symptom-free, we won't be moving forward with anything. That's what will have to happen, he has to be symptom-free and then we'll move forward from there." 

Team Scope:
Bruins -- The Bruins have dropped their last two games and four of their last five overall. But Boston has also benefitted from making it to overtime and the shootout a few times recently and has actually managed at least a point in seven of its last eight games as a result.

Boston's last loss was a 3-2 overtime defeat at Montreal on Saturday, in which the B's took a 2-0 lead into the final two minutes of regulation but surrendered quick goals to the Habs' Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta.

"They found a way to win and we found a way to give it to them," Bruins coach Claude Julien said after the game.

Penguins --  Just like the Bruins, the Pens will attempt to snap a two-game losing streak on Monday. The void left by Crosby was very much apparent on Saturday as the Penguins struggled to get any type of offense going in a 4-0 loss to the visiting Wild.

While Crosby's teammates are trying to make sense of having to play the next few games without arguably the NHL's most talented offensive player, they know that the supporting staff will have to kick it up a notch.

"Obviously we miss the best player in the game right now," Penguins winger Pascal Dupuis told reporters after Saturday's game. "But I think we have a pretty deep team. We've just got to chip in, me included."

Who's Hot -- Bruins center Patrice Bergeron has tallied 12 points (5g, 7a) over his last 11 games. Defenseman Alex Goligoski has one goal and four assists over his last three games for Pittsburgh.

Injury Report -- Defenseman Mark Stuart (broken hand) is eyeing a late-January return for the Bruins. Also, forward Nathan Horton missed his first game of the season Saturday with an undisclosed injury...According to the Penguins, Crosby isn't expected to return to the team until all concussion symptoms have subsided. Also, forwards Chris Conner and Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Brooks Orpik all sat out Sunday's practice with undisclosed illnesses. 

Stat Pack -- The goals might be tough to come by on Monday as the Bruins and Penguins lead the NHL, respectively, with an average of 2.15 and 2.30 goals-against per game.

Puck Drop -- The one question on everyone's mind is what the Penguins will do to compensate for the loss of Crosby. Coach Bylsma spoke about that after practice on Sunday.

"We don’t try to change a lot. The lines are somewhat reconfigured. We have kept Jordan (Staal) with Malkin to this point anticipating that will be the case when Crosby returns to the team."
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